Arrest made after mother of 3 killed by bullet while at Queens home

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Saturday, October 3, 2020
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A suspect has been arrested in the murder of a mother of three in Queens.

JACKSON HEIGHTS, Queens (WABC) -- A suspect has been arrested in the murder of a mother of three in Queens.

31-year-old Issam Elabbar, of Corona, has been charged with the murder of Bertha Arriaga.

Elabbar was brought out of the NYPD's 115th precinct in a wheelchair and taken away in an ambulance Saturday.

Police said he broke his leg before the arrest and complained of pain while being questioned.

He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital before he was to be brought to Queens Criminal Court for his arraignment.

Arriaga was killed by a bullet that went through her apartment window and struck her in the neck on Sept. 30. Her body was found by her 14-year-old son.

It happened around 12:47 a.m., as the family was sleeping inside their third-floor apartment on 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights.

The victim's son woke up to the sound of the crashing window, and he ran into the room and found his mother on the ground with a gunshot wound to the head.

He called 911, and EMS responded and pronounced 43-year-old Bertha Arriaga dead at the scene.

The NYPD released surveillance video of individuals seen in the area who they want to identify.

"A woman was shot, murdered, in her own home," Deputy Inspector Julie Morrill said. "We do not see anything like a shootout situation...There appears to be a theft occurring at the time, an attempted theft of a bicycle that was locked up in front of this location. The theft that was occurring ended. The bike was not taken by these perps. A shot rang out. At this time, it is still under investigation as to who fired that shot."

Neighbors and police say it's a nice residential area, and that while there have been some bike thefts, there is not much crime in general.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea tweeted about the horrific incident saying, "This is what senseless gun violence does - it destroys families."

"These individuals were on the street outside that location when the shot rang out, and any information that you can give us on them or the thefts of bikes in that area would be greatly appreciated," said Assistant Chief Galen Frierson, commanding officer of Patrol Borough Queens North.

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On a Go Fund Me page, Arriaga's family thanked supporters who have so far donated more than $38,000 to help with repatriating her body to Mexico.

The family said a funeral will be held Wednesday followed by a mass on Thursday at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church.


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